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(en) Lebanon: A few words on the Lebanese opposition's "general" strike of 23rd January 2007 [fr,it]

Date Wed, 31 Jan 2007 12:18:24 +0200

No! What we are seeing in Lebanon today is not an act of destruction at the hands of the anarchist communists or the Qarmatians, nor of revolutionary syndicalists, nor anarchist syndicalists, nor the poor rebelling against Mr Siniora's liberal government. The general strike has a very precise definition for anarchist and libertarian communists, hammered out through blood, hunger and repression. It is this: the productive forces (proletarian forces) stop selling their labour in order to demonstrate that without it there is no life. And when the strike fails because only a minority of workers joined, the workers' struggles continue, above all on the level of revolutionary syndicalist education, so that a successful general strike can some day be achieved.
This is very different from what took place in Lebanon on 23rd January 2007: it was a strike forced onto the majority of Lebanese who did not want anything to do with it, and whose final aim was not unknown. This "strike/coup d'etat" was carried out at the hands of political organizations whose driving power is undoubtedly Hezbollah. The aim of the strike was not to protest against the liberal, capitalist nature of the Siniora government. It was rather a case of "move over, I want that seat"... and above all of putting a stick in the spokes of the plan for a special international tribunal to try the killers of Rafik Hariri and other martyrs.

Let us return to what we wrote earlier on the al-Badil website: Hezbollah does
not want this tribunal, above all because of Syria. If the demands of the
demonstrators had been for an increase in the minimum wage in Lebanon (a
pittance at ?160) and the building of socialism, then we would have been among
the first to hit the streets. But no-one can convince us that Hezbollah is a
socialist party. Proof, if needed, can be seen in its participation in various
governments that have not raised the minimum wage by a cent and the fact that
it is still in favour of the Paris-1, 2 and 3 economic proposals.

This was purely and simply a political strike. Hezbollah started losing ground
following the July 2006 war and no amount of Iranian money can do anything
about it. Siniora's government is too bourgeois to fight Hezbollah and above
all its privatization plans, which no country has managed to avoid since the
fall of stalinism (as libertarian communists we cannot talk about the fall of
communism). Nevertheless, the 23 January strike has nothing to do with social
demands. Why has Hezbollah's minister for labour not resigned because of the
government's refusal to raise the minimum wage to a more human level? This
strike was a strike by a fundamentalist Shia Muslim party. Indeed, religious
parties have never really fought against capitalism. It is a party allied in
the closest possible way with the dictatorial regimes in Iran and Syria. It is
against the international tribunal because it does not want the killers of
Rafik Hariri and many men of freedom to be tried. As for the alliance between
Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement of General Aoun, this can be
understood in the light of the personal ambitions of the general, who
desperately wants to become president of the republic.

The criteria of struggle in Lebanon today in general consists of a clear
position regarding the repressive nature of the Syrian regime, the killings,
the demands for secularism, formal democracy. Those who wish to find out what
is happening should look to the various alliances. Jacques Chirac is better
than Ahmadinejad. Sad, but true. Yes, we -libertarian communists - say it loud,
while understanding the attitude of part of the extreme left, both French and
from elsewhere, who - we are sure - are not aware of the concrete situation in
the land of the cedars.

This explains our position in favour of the March 14 Alliance. It is a movement
which at least promises the re-constitution of a (relatively) democratic,
pluralist and anti-dictatorship country.

Our position regarding the government's proposals (the economic document)
presented at Paris-3 is clear, for as libertarian communists, we can only
oppose privatization plans and taxes on the proletarian and middle classes.
Siniora must be mad to propose a tax rise when instead lebanon needs
progressive taxation, the elimination of bank secrecy and free public education
for all.

There is nothing appealing to us about the government's approach to this - nor
about that of the March 14 Alliance's various fractions. But the battle today
is not one between socialism and capitalism, for or against the USA and Bush's
incomprehensible war. It is between those who want to push Lebanon towards the
constitution of a country, albeit bourgeois, and those who instead want a
return to the time of Syrian protection, and transform Lebanon into a
fundamentalist country governed by the turbans... in the name of god, of

Beirut, 24 January 2007

Al-Badil Al-Shuyu'i Al-Taharruri
(Libertarian Communist Alternative)


Translated by FdCA-International relations

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